Back to Bethel

Claudia Elzinga

READ : Genesis 34-36

Outward circumstances may be very different, but the problems of every generation are similar. Here was a case of rape. This is certainly a terrible way for one person to sin against another. We also find a case of revenge. Revenge only leads to more sin. And we find a case of fear. Jacob is afraid of the consequences of the sin of his sons, and rightly so.

Once again, problems with the people around him prepare Jacob to hear the voice of God. God told him to go back to the place where he had such a meaningful spiritual experience. Go back to the place where you made promises to God. Have you had a “close encounter” with God? Since then, has the passage of time dimmed your vision and caused you to forget your promises? Perhaps you need to go back to Bethel.

People must prepare themselves to meet God. If a new Bethel experience is to be a blessing, the members of Jacob’s family must get rid of their “foreign gods”; these were the idols they had cherished during all these years when they were supposed to have been serving the one true God alone. What do you need to get rid of in your life if your fellowship with God is to be a great blessing?

Jacob receives a new name, Israel. No longer is he to be a cheater; now he is to be a prince of God.


Father, we thank you for spiritual experiences in the past. May our fellowship with you be even more real in the future. In Jesus' name. Amen.